Outgoing chair of the Jefferson County Board of Education, David Jones, who lost his bid for reelection to the board in November, made his assessment of what is coming to the Jefferson County Public School System (JCPS) very clear in his December 16, 2016 Op-Ed in the Courier-Journal.
Says Jones of November’s school board races:
“Union candidates won all three board seats in November. When the new board convenes in January, five of the seven members will have expressed solidarity with, and owe their election to, the teachers’ union.
With JCPS employee surrogates in charge of the board, there is no chance that the needed restructuring of non-teacher salaries will occur – and no chance that meaningful new resources will go into JCPS classrooms, where they are desperately needed.”
Jones also wasn’t pulling punches when he talked to Courier reporter Allison Ross for a companion article about his departure. After calling for action to deal with what a recent study says are excessively high salaries for many non-school jobs at the Jefferson County School District’s central office, he said:
“This won’t be easy because it will require moving money to support kids who need it rather than looking out for the wants of adults who band together for the biggest piece of the pie they can grab.”
So, it remains to be seen if the union, which seems to be clearly in total control, will surprise Jones and do the professional thing for students or just “band together for the biggest piece of the pie they can grab.”
Unfortunately, the teachers’ union in Louisville doesn’t have much of a track record of doing the right things for students, so Jones’ grim predictions may well prove true.
And, one more Jones prediction seems very likely if Louisville cannot get its act together on its own. Jones also writes in his Op-Ed:
“If Louisville won’t solve JCPS’ problems, Frankfort will try.”
Because Louisville fills such an important area in the overall Kentucky economy, continued failure of its school system is simply something Frankfort cannot afford to ignore.
In addition, the district faces lots of criticism regarding civil rights issues related to its chronic minority achievement gaps and now from a major bullying lawsuit. So, it’s not totally unlikely that some federal attention could be headed Louisville’s way if the teachers’ union, which Jones has now pronounced fully in charge, doesn’t clean up this troubled school district’s act.
So, JCTA, let’s see what you can do. I think a lot of folks will be watching.